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Archive for the ‘Jesus Christ’ Category

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Just as all the glitters is not gold, so all that goes by the name “worship” isn’t worship.

In Matthew 2:1-11, the magi come to worship the One who was born the King of the Jews. They had searched for Him and were led to Him by God’s providential use of the star. When they found Him, they worshiped.

King Herod, however, proclaimed his desire to worship, too. His real intent became clear in verse 13: “Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him” (which was carried out in verses 14 through 23).

True worship focuses on the Lord and responds to Him, in this case with rejoicing and the giving of gifts. False worship is self-focused, self-interested, and ultimately seeks to suppress and destroy the God who alone is worthy of worship.

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As I begin reading the sordid history of the kings of Israel and Judah in my yearly Bible read-through, I’m struck by one big thought: We need a king who’s good – one we can count on and one we can follow.

That doesn’t describe the vast majority of kings in the ten northern tribes called Israel or the two southern tribes called Judah. Out of a total of forty kings – twenty in both Israel and Judah – only eight followed the Lord. The history of the divided kingdom is bleak. How that must have disappointed and discouraged a good number of Jews (not all, of course). “Can’t we just have a good king, and not one of these losers?”

But one of God’s purposes, among many, was to teach the Jews not to put their hope, trust, and confidence in earthly kings, rulers, and leaders. (I think there’s a lesson here for us, too!) Human beings, even if they know the Lord and follow Him, are fallen and sinful. They’ll disappoint us. The kings were also used by God to whet the appetite for a perfect king – one who would rule with perfect justice and righteousness.

If you understand the overall flow of the Bible, you know that there is a King who fits the description of the perfect King – One who came once and will someday return. That King is Jesus Christ! He’s the King we’ve been waiting for. He’s the King we need! He’s the King who is God, can be counted on, and followed. All of the kings of Israel and Judah, whether good or bad, look forward to Jesus Christ – the King of kings and Lord of lords!

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Philippians 1:9-11. The following is a one-sentence summary of my sermon: Love that is guided by knowledge produces a godly life lived for the glory and praise of God.

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In his book, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith, K. Scott Oliphant writes,

Jesus is teaching them something that every Christian must learn. He is telling them, as Paul later reminded the Philippians, that they were to be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6). Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord. To be worrisome is to think that we are ultimately in control, that we can alter our own circumstances, ultimately by our own power.

The disciples are not to think this way. Jesus knows the kind of suffering that they will be called on to endure. He knows that the Christian road will be rocky and ultimately deadly for them. He knows that they will suffer martyrdom for their faith (see, for example Matt. 20:23; Mark 10:39). To be worried about how their Christian faith will fare in a hostile world would take their minds off of the task at hand. It would distract them from the defense of and preaching of the gospel. Worse still, it would betray a heart that is not resting in Christ and His authority (Matt. 28:18-20).

(p. 204)

“Anxiety is a heart confessing that Christ is not Lord.” I need to remember that.

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I had the privilege of preaching on Philippians 1:1-2 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Our identity as Christians is that we are slaves and saints who have been blessed by God with grace and peace.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Acts 16:6-40 as I begin a new series in the book of Philippians. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: In the beginning of the church in Philippi, the sovereignty of God is pervasive and undeniable.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on Romans 4:25. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Both the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are necessary for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be declared righteous by God, with repentance and belief in Christ being absolutely necessary to experience those benefits.

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